Strategic Planning for Nonprofits


Strategic planning is important to keep your nonprofit headed in the direction of your vision and mission. Strategic planning can seem daunting and time-consuming, but with these tips, you can make it easier.

Strategic planning for a nonprofit is important to keep your organization headed in the direction of your vision and mission. Although there are external companies that can help with strategic planning, not all nonprofits have the budget to see that through, so it is done internally. Strategic planning can seem daunting and time-consuming, but with these tips, you can make it easier!

  •          Utilizing the Full Potential of your Technology
  •          Include your Management and Employees
  •          Analyze Internal Strengths and Weaknesses
  •          Analyze External Opportunities and Threats
  •          Divide Long-Term Goals into Tactical Steps

Utilize the Full Potential of your Technology

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and many CRM platforms update their programs to adapt with the changes in technology and needs of organizations. Delve into all the reporting and available features that your technology has. Your technology platform may have some reports available that have information that can be used to plan strategically. Donations, fundraising, volunteer management, and overall organizational operations and cost need to be a part of the tactical steps of a strategic plan, so it is important to utilize your technology to its fullest to help plan.

 Include your Management and Employees in your Planning

The best resource of a nonprofit is the employees and the volunteers. Many of your employees, and especially your volunteers, have interactions with the external environment of those your organization serves. With this external interaction comes a wealth of knowledge about what the needs of those that your nonprofit serves can be. Moreover, they likely have ideas for growth. Your volunteers and employees are invested in your nonprofit's cause and want to see it succeed, and they will be more than happy to share their valuable insights!

Analyze Internal Strengths and Weaknesses

What does your organization do well? What can your organization improve on? A SWOT analysis would do well in this area, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Gather the information from the management, employees, volunteers, and your board. Finally, understand how your organization's strengths can help you overcome threats and eliminate weaknesses. An internal SWOT analysis can be valuable in the tactical planning phase of your strategic plan.

Analyze External Opportunities and Threats

One of the most important factors in analyzing the external environment is your volunteers. However, be sure to include your entire team and board in analyzing external environmental factors. What are some opportunities out there that you can capitalize on? Are there additional donors that you can access that are passionate about your cause? Are there more webinars or events that your organization can host to grow your message and donor base? Consequently, are there external factors that are potential threats to your organization such as a decrease in donors, volunteers, or ability to host events?

Divide Long-Term Goals into Tactical Steps

A strategic plan should be one that encompasses 3–5-year goals, but in between that you have to set smaller goals to achieve the larger goal or goals. Once you have all the information gathered about where your nonprofit is now and where your organization needs to be in the future, you can divide the long-term goal into tactical steps and action plans. Ensure that your tactical steps are set with your top management and those who are responsible for departments. Including your leadership in the tactical steps, each area of your nonprofit will take will ensure buy-in. From there have your leaders work with their employees to create action plans that include specific and measurable steps to achieving your organizational goals. Again, this will garner buy-in from all those working and volunteering with your nonprofit when they have a say in how they will achieve their goals, this will also establish accountability.

On a final note, strategic plans should include talent development, and engagement with your employees throughout the entire process should be of the utmost importance. Don’t fear revisiting and revising the plan as needed over the 3 to 5 years you have set to achieve the goals. Lastly, remember that fewer goals are better and if major changes will take place within this strategic plan, make sure your leaders have their own plans in place to help those resistant to the change cope with it in a positive way.

If you need the software tools to execute your nonprofit's strategic plan, Givecloud's got your back.

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